Finisar spin-off launches SAN I/O software for VMware

Posted on February 27, 2009

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By Kevin Komiega

-- SAN optimization vendor and Finisar spin-off Virtual Instruments unveiled VirtualWisdom, a software product that peers into SAN I/O in VMware environments to help administrators troubleshoot the links between virtual machines (VMs) and storage.

The software measures I/O performance in real-time, tracks application latency and bandwidth consumption, and provides advanced notification of device failures, congestion, and errors. VirtualWisdom also produces real-time performance information from VMs on servers through the host bus adapter (HBA), out through the SAN switch and to the LUNs on disk arrays.

ProbeVMW, another piece of the product, collects information specifically about the utilization and performance of VMs within the VMware environment.  VirtualWisdom correlates information from the ProbeVMW with performance data measured directly from the SAN.

Virtual Instruments' vice president of marketing, Len Rosenthal, says the monitoring and analysis capabilities of VirtualWisdom allow for a baseline characterization before a VMware deployment, which helps improve data center efficiency and eliminate bottlenecks, helping users buy the right-sized fabric for their VMware infrastructure.

VirtualWisdom also includes a customizable dashboard that allows system administrators and SAN managers to focus on specific VMs, servers, and application I/O data points. The dashboard includes user-definable associations that let administrators monitor and correlate performance data among all of the components that make up the I/O path for an application, including CPUs, memory, HBAs, switch ports and storage arrays. The dashboard is designed to simplify the problem identification and resolution process by providing real-time root-cause analysis.

Rosenthal says users can deploy virtual machines everywhere, but troubleshooting server and storage issues is a daunting task without real-time measurement tools.

"Large companies are using virtual servers, but not on mission-critical applications because VMware is blind to I/O today. Virtual machines are running into each other and causing massive congestion," he says.

Rosenthal also points to SAN complexity as an obstacle to widespread VM use for applications such as SAP and Oracle. "SANs are clouds that you really can't see inside. There is no real visibility into the traffic either," he says. "And you can't optimize what you can't measure."

Pricing for the software is based on the number of monitored links/ports. Rosenthal says pricing ranges from $300 to $500 per link, and a typical VirtualWisdom installation starts at approximately $50,000.

VirtualWisdom will be available as a standalone software application and as a part of the new Virtual Infrastructure HealthCheck Service. The service is available now and the VirtualWisdom software is slated for availability mid-year.

Virtual Instruments also plans to support Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer environments in the future.

Related articles:
Virtual Instruments intros TAP
The upside of an economic downturn: Storage efficiency

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